The mission organization Mission10/40 is a continuation of the mission work which Ingebjørg and Jan Ernst Gabrielsen had during their time as missionaries in Kenya from 1973 to 1979. They called their work "Mission in East Africa" and had a support group of faithful givers and intercessors who stood together with them in the ministry. After coming home to Norway they kept contact with them and arranged a lot of help for evangelistic projects in Kenya and Sudan as well as yearly mission trips to Africa. Here we will give the historical background for this ministry.
The presentation of Jan Ernst Gabrielsen:
Jan Ernst Gabrielsen began his ministry at the age of 17 in Troens Bevis (Evidence of Faith), a mission organization in Kvinesdal, Norway. After 10 years of ministry he went with his wife Ingebjørg and their children to Kenya in order to start a literature centre and establish an office for Aril Edvardsen's Correspondence Course, "New Life".
After a few years in Kenya he became confronted with the fact that 28 people groups, especially in northern Kenya, had not heard the Gospel. This became a great challenge to him and after a trip home to Norway in 1976 he travelled to Kenya again with his family to start churches among those people groups.
During the next 3 years, together with the national preachers, he managed to plant 35 new fellowships in Northern Kenya. Those fellowships have continued to grow and multiply, and have now become more than 250 churches.
The contact with Sudan
During that time as a missionary in Kenya he also got in touch with people from Sudan who were eager to preach the Gospel and plant churches in their country. One of them was Benjamin L. Terah, who was a student in a Bible school in Nairobi, Kenya, at that time.
For some periods Benjamin stayed with the Gabrielsen family and became greatly inspired by the church planting work in Northern Kenya. When he went back to Sudan after graduating from the Bible School, he began to preach and start churches in Southern Sudan. He wrote letters to Kenya and asked for help, and Jan Ernst Gabrielsen came to Juba first time in June 1976 for meetings there. The work i Sudan developed quickly and some preachers were also sent from Kenya to Sudan as missionaries to help the new churches there.
Registration of Sudan Pentecostal Churches
After a short time there was a need to register those new churches in relation to the authorities in Sudan, and regulations were made to form the basis of such a registration. The important thing for Jan Ernst Gabrielsen was that it was going to be a national church movement which was not connected to any particular foreign mission, but could receive support and help as well as co-operate with those who had a heart for helping in evangelism in Sudan. The registration was accepted by the authorities, and Sudan Pentecostal Churches got registered as the first Pentecostal movement in the history of Sudan.
The civil war destroys the contact with the churches in Sudan
Within a few years Jan Ernst Gabrielsen travelled to Sudan many times in order to hold meetings and seminars as well as train and guide the leaders in the work there. There was strong growth and success and the first church buildings were raised.
From 1984 it became difficult to keep in touch with Sudan, because of the Civil war that started between North and South. There was a lot of prayer for the work, but very little news about the happenings there.
New contact with the churches in Sudan
In 1996 the magazine of the Pentecostal movement in Norway, Korsets Seier (The Victory of the Cross), was paid a visit by a church leader from Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. He was in Norway together with 9 other church leaders from Sudan, invited by the Norwegian Government. He was telling them that the Pentecostal movement in Sudan had been started by a Norwegian and that there were hundreds of churches in southern Sudan which called themselves Gabrielsen Pentecostal Churches. He was then directed to Korsets Seier as the organ of the Pentecostal Church in Norway, but they did not get hold of Gabrielsen as he was on a study trip in the USA.
The journalist in Korsets Seier called Jan Ernst Gabrielsen when he came home and asked if it was him who had been to Sudan. He could confirm it, but he could also confirm that the movement was called Sudan Pentecostal Churches, as he himself had helped write the constitution for the church.
That gave possibilities for a new contact, and through a Swedish missionary, Leif Zetterlund, who is leading a Humanitarian organization, IAS, he was able to organize a week-long seminar in northern Uganda in 1999. Here the preachers from the so-called "liberated areas" were invited to come for teaching, and 70 preachers were able to come.
That became a great experience both for Jan Ernst Gabrielsen and for many whom he had trained in southern Sudan 12-15 years earlier. Jan Ernst Gabrielsen taught the preachers for one week there in a town called Koboko. When he was welcomed by the leader of the movement then, he was expressing a great joy "to have "the grandfather" of Sudan Pentecostal Churches" as the main speaker.
The contact with Kenya maintained
During all these years Jan Ernst Gabrielsen has maintained contact with the big Pentecostal movement which he co-operated with as he was living there with his family. This movement is called East Africa Pentecostal Churches, and was founded by a Norwegian missionary, Walther Olsen, more than 50 years ago.
This great church movement has more than 1,200 churches in Kenya, and in August 2003 they celebrated the 50- year-jubilee in Mombasa, where Jan Ernst Gabrielsen was the main speaker. He has visited them more than 60 times having meetings and seminars and is strongly involved in their work.
Contact with Khartoum and Northern Sudan
In October, 2003 Jan Ernst Gabrielsen visited Khartoum in Sudan to have meetings and leader seminars. He did not know then that Sudan Pentecostal Churches had got many churches also in the north of the country. When he visited them at that time, there were 10 local fellowships just in the capital, Khartoum.
Sudan Pentecostal Churches has also a Bible school there, and one of the churches is situated in the centre of the city and is called Khartoum Christian Centre. It became a wonderful reunion with the brothers and sisters that he had met many years earlier in southern Sudan, and many, many new preachers and leaders.
There were a lot of meetings and teaching during the visit, and after that there have been 3-4 visits each year in the capital. Every time he has had big seminars with many hundreds of leaders and preachers, and now there are almost 20 local churches in Khartoum. There have come many, many new Christians, and there have been held many baptisms with many hundreds baptized every time.
Seminars in Juba, Khartoum and the province of Darfur
Jan Ernst Gabrielsen has also visited Darfur, the province in crisis in western Sudan, many times. It is traditionally 100% Muslim, but Sudan Pentecostal Churches had planted some churches here among the refugees who had come from southern Sudan during the 20-year-long civil war. He has participated in meetings and seminars for them more than 7 times and has sent out and supports many national missionaries here. When he visited Darfur for the first time in the autumn of 2004, there was a small Pentecostal church in Nyala, the biggest city in southern Darfur. Now there are 5 growing churches in the city and there have come many, many new churches all around the whole province.
He has also been back in Juba, the capital in the south where the work started in 1977, and has had big meetings here, as well as organized leader seminars for more than 350 Christian leaders from the whole range of Christian movements here.
Sudan Pentecostal Churches – a fast-growing movement
Sudan Pentecostal Churches is one of the biggest Christian church movements in Sudan today and has almost 400 local fellowships with more than 120,000 Christians. There is big growth in the work and now they are facing big challenges connected with the fact that there has come peace between northern and southern Sudan. Lots of those who have become Christians in the capital who have been refugees from the south, and now they are going back to their homes and want to start new fellowships. Sudan is the country with the biggest area in Africa and no other country has so many tribes and people groups completely deprived of the Gospel as this one.
Sudan – an Arabic-speaking country with many Christians
Another big challenge is to wake up the Arabic world so that they hear the Gospel about Jesus. There are many who seek salvation, and there is a big demand for Arabic-speaking preachers. Few Arabic countries have many preachers and churches, but Sudan does. This makes Sudan a key country in the planting of new churches in the Middle East. Already now there are many from Sudan who have started new churches in Libya and Egypt, and Jan Ernst Gabrielsen has also been in Tripoli in Libya to support them, and in Egypt he has held many big seminars for preachers and church leaders for the biggest Pentecostal group there, Assemblies of God, and also visited churches started by Sudanese preachers who work there.
The vision for our mission work is the mission command given by Jesus in Matt 28,18-20: Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
We believe that Jesus wants living groups of people to be found everywhere, among all people groups and tribes, so that they can be an up-to-date and relevant picture of Jesus and His ministry today.
We believe that our task in the big vision is to work in the areas of the world where we have contacts and possibilities and which God has put on our hearts in a special way in order to fulfill the mission command of our Master and Lord Jesus Christ. God has put a special burden for Sudan over us and we want to focus on this country, but we also want to help in the fulfilling of the mission command in other countries and areas of the world as much as we can and have resources for.
We believe that our contribution in that is to help and equip the native Christians in every place with the teaching and the resources they need in order to reach all the unreached people groups in their country.
We want to be an inspirer and a catalyst to see the possibilities and do our best to fulfill the mission command as soon as possible.
With this background we want to attract people and groups who want to devote themselves to this vision and this task by teaching, training and equipping those people so that they become biblical leaders with the right servant attitude who imitate Jesus and fulfill His mission task.